Recently, Apple introduced its newest product, the Apple Watch. According to Businessweek, Apple spent years researching watches before deciding to build one. The company flew watch historians to California and they worked to understand how wristwatches have traditionally been used, and how a new “wrist computer” might work. They have hired leaders from diverse backgrounds -- none of them techies -- to lead these efforts. It struck me that health care could learn ...

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Suicide puts the medical profession in a difficult position Recently, I wrote about the importance (and difficulty) of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a resident. Now, I’d like focus more specifically on the toll that residency -- and in general, a career in medicine -- takes on a health care provider’s mind and soul. As you may have heard, in August two young physicians decided to end their lives. No one can ...

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Recently at our community hospital, after we concluded a nearly two-hour standing room only Ebola preparedness meeting, I practiced donning and doffing the personal protective equipment (PPE) for Ebola cases. PPE is the protective wardrobe health workers wear when examining a patient with a contagious infectious disease. Each disease has a different level of transmission and requires an appropriate level of protection. I wear gloves 25 times a day to examine ...

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Helicopter emergency services: A disparity between aviation and medical proficiency As the helicopter emergency services (HEMS) industry enters its fifth decade, there is an 800-pound gorilla in the room and nobody is talking.  The average EMT, fireman and emergency physician too often make the flawed assumption that when it comes to HEMS, the industry is a uniform, high quality, strictly regulated entity.  They assume that all HEMS programs use state of ...

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Quit smoking: It takes a community to spread the wordYou never know when something special is going to happen, as in one of those times when you just wish you had a camera rolling to capture a moment, a comment, a statement about the way the world is -- and the way the world could be. This past weekend my wife and I were attending a meeting in ...

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Ruth was problematic.  Well into her seventies, her body may have dulled but her tongue was sharper than ever.  And she used it to lash me with complaint after complaint.  If it wasn't her knees, it was her ankles.  If it wasn't her ankles, it was her hips.  I battled the impossible month after month, year after year.  Our interactions left a bitter taste in my mouth.  Nothing makes a ...

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Lesson learned: Not everyone is crazyLesson learned: Not everyone is crazy An excerpt from The Spattered White Coat: Intense experiences which formed a young doctor. I'll never forget one of the first patients I interviewed. When I went to get him, I could see him sitting in the waiting room, looking around and scratching his arms repeatedly. He was a very ...

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A case that illustrates the good, the bad and the ugly of American medicine I had a recent conversation with an old friend about her elderly father that encapsulates a lot of what is both great and terribly wrong with health care in America today. Here are the basic facts: the man is in his mid-80s, retired from teaching school, and is active and vigorous, living in the community; he is cognitively intact. He has a ...

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Recently, my eldest son came home from college for a couple of days. Our home was in perfect harmony and rhythm. The duets (and quartets, if you count us parents) that had played over the prior month-and-a-half were once again trios and quintets. Five or six hands on the piano at a time. The clear brass joining in again with the bright woodwind and the deep bass. The voices in ...

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Pamela Wible: A eulogy to her father I believe we choose our parents before we are born. I hit the jackpot. I picked an unlikely pair -- a radical feminist and a guy named Ted Krouse. Mom wasn’t home much (she was finishing up her psychiatry residency) so I became head of the household. Dad always kowtowed to the strongest woman in the room. I was two at the ...

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